Category Archives: History

Posts about history and the profession of history

the Platinum Coin

You’ve probably read about the platinum coin idea. I posted about it before, but it’s probably worth revisiting. If it seems like it doesn’t make sense that’s because it kind of doesn’t make sense. Here’s the problem. Congress makes the budget. The budget mandates a certain amount of spending. The spending congress mandates is in […]

Assigning your own book

Do you assign your own book in class? I typically don’t, but I’m thinking about doing it for next semester Arguments for the practice 1. It’s the best damn book on the subject! Nobody else has done this! There is no other book like it! It’s indispensable! 2. The chance to talk to the author […]

gun control

The latest and in this case particularly heart -rending mass killing has re-ignited the gun control debate. Though I own a shotgun and enjoy target shooting and the occasional hunting trip, we have to do something about a situation in which any madman with a gun can load up with thousands of bullets. Yes, guns […]

Time is Money

So recently the GAO addressed the question of replacing the dollar bill with a dollar coin to save money. The idea is that a bill wears out in, say, ten months while a coin lasts ten years. The government would save the cost of printing dollar bills. Also recently some economists have proposed that the […]

Spielberg’s Lincoln

I just now saw Lincoln. Spielberg is a masterful filmaker and it’s a very enjoyable movie, but I have to agree with Kate Masur’s assessment in the New York Times. The film manages not to be Birth of a Nation, which is a really good thing, and it was really fun for me to see […]

Imagining the future in 1880

He set out to design the modern office building, but instead he invented the shopping mall. Few people who visit this building understand just how well it combines the visionary and the preposterous. It used to be the headquarters of the Pension Bureau, which oversaw the benefits paid to Civil War veterans and their families. […]

have you got a piece of work….

Have you got some research, a small conclusion, an idea or possibility; some piece of work which isn’t really suitable for the standard journal format? Maybe a piece which doesn’t fit easily in any single discipline? Would you like feedback on an idea you’re struggling with? Would you like to publish this work in a […]

The Architecture of the Cell Phone

For various reasons, too tedious to go into, my wife and I still don’t have cell phones. That puts us in a small minority, the less than 17% of American adults who don’t. The interesting thing about not having cell phones is the perspective it gives you. It’s pretty clear that a new form of […]

Is Elizabeth Warren an Indian?

The question posed above is extremely hard to answer. She doesn’t “look like an indian.” But what do Indians look like? Just to recap: Elizabeth Warren is running for the Senate in Massachusetts. She’s been widely mocked for claiming herself as “native American” at various points in her career. Warren grew up in what’s now […]

“Just Made-up Money”

Part of the recently released video of Mitt Romney talking to wealthy potential donors includes Romney’s answer to a question on the Federal Reserve buying debt. Romney insists that the Federal Reserve is buying most of America’s debt, which isn’t true. But he also says this: So who’s giving us the trillion? And the answer […]